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Sunshine & Smiles

Meet the team

Sunshine & Smiles is parent led and overseen by a team of four trustees. Our Service Delivery Manager, Ailith runs the charity and we have 7 sessional support staff, and volunteers who organise our groups and activities. 

 

Trustees

Marc Davies

Marc Davies

Trustee and Chair

Marc is a Director and Head of Environment at WYG, an international programme and project management consultancy, where he has worked for 20 years. Originally from Nottingham, he went to the University in Leeds and has stayed, living in or near Chapel Allerton since graduation.

He is married to Clare and has one son, Alby, who was born in 2013 and has Down syndrome. Since then he has become passionate about changing perceptions of Down syndrome and helping those with Down syndrome realise their potential. He has a keen interest in music and many sports and, when time allows, loves to be out cycling. He also loves to share coffee and toast with Alby at a local cafe.

Jonathan Astin

Jonathan Astin

Trustee and Treasurer

Jonathan is a Business Development Manager at CDS, a national digital communications agency, where he has worked for 10 years. He is married to Heather and has a daughter, Sophie, who was born in 2012 with Down syndrome. He was appointed as a trustee in March 2015 and since then became treasurer, responsible for overseeing the charity’s finances.

Jonathan is passionate about helping the charity and ensuring it provides the required support for children and their families both now and in the future. A keen sports fan, and cyclist, Jonathan enjoys playing in the park with Sophie and may even be seen dancing at Mini movers.

Katie Kelly

Katie Kelly

Trustee

Katie joined Sunshine & Smiles in March 2011 as the charity started and has been a trustee since 2013. After completing a degree in Childhood Studies at university, Katie worked in Early Years with children aged 6 months to 4 years. She is married to Richard and they have two children, Oliver, who was born in 2010 and has Down syndrome and William, who was born in 2013.

Katie is passionate about raising awareness and changing people’s perspectives of Down syndrome. She has relevant experience of using wider support services e.g. Hawthorn Family Support Centre and Down Syndrome Training & Support Service.

Emma Henson

Emma Henson

Trustee

Emma is Assistant Channel Manager at ITV, where she has worked for 8 years. She is married to Paul and they have two children Dylan and Teagan, who has Down Syndrome. Emma and her family were was first introduced to Sunshine and Smiles when they attended a 0-3’s session when Teagan was a just a few weeks old.

Emma has always been passionate about what Sunshine and Smiles does, which has encouraged her to take up the likes of running (and mountain climbing) to raise funds for the charity!

Emma wanted to be a Trustee to be more actively involved in the excellent work that Sunshine and Smiles does in raising awareness and supporting families who have a child with Down Syndrome in Leeds.

Staff and volunteers

Ailith Harley-Roberts

Ailith Harley-Roberts

Service Delivery Manager

Ailith is a founding member of Sunshine and Smiles and Mum to Aiyana and Thalia, who has Down syndrome. Ailith is our Service Delivery Manager and is responsible for the day to day running of the charity. She loves the rewards and challenges it brings.

Prior to working for Sunshine & Smiles, she had held a variety of roles in the public and voluntary sector. She enjoys cycling, swimming and running and takes part in charity events throughout the year to raise funds for the charity. Triathlons and marathons are just some examples of the challenges Ailith rises to.

Lorna Gilbert

Lorna Gilbert

Sessional Support Worker

Previous trustee and now volunteer and sessional worker, Lorna joined Sunshine and Smiles in 2011 when it was born. She has two sons and her youngest, Josh, has Down Syndrome. Lorna is passionate about creating positive opportunities and experiences for children and young people with Down Syndrome and their families and loves being a part of the team, especially when it involves enhancing the garden at the community hub!

More recently Lorna has been heavily involved with the development of café 21. She enjoys working alongside Sunshine and Smiles’ young adults in this project to help develop their self-esteem and work skills.

When not working for us Lorna can be found up to her elbows in clay! Yes, Lorna is a potter and runs regular workshops, and sells her pots at makers fairs and galleries.

Ania Zawartka-Addou

Ania Zawartka-Addou

Sessional Support Worker

Ania is mum to three children including 2-year-old Yousef who has Down syndrome. After receiving fantastic support from Sunshine& Smiles Ania became very inspired by their extraordinary work and joined the team in 2017. Since then she’s been providing sessional support, individual family support, training for students, support for various activities & events, and taking part in fundraising activities.

Ania has years of experience as a language teacher and translator, which makes her the perfect fit for our Early Development Groups; enhancing speech development and linguistics. In her free time (which is a rare occasion) Ania loves swimming, travelling, quilting and more recently – bread baking. She loves doing what she’s doing, but if she could have gone down an alternative path, she would have liked to have been a diver or an interior designer!

Katie Aynsley

Katie Aynsley

Sessional Support Worker

Katie joined the Sunshine and Smiles team as a freelance dance teacher in 2015. Katie now teaches the Mini Movers Dance Session for the ages 2-5 Sunburst group, as well offering sessional support.

Katie has a passion for raising awareness and creating opportunities for children and young people who have disabilities. She provides support and care in the community for families as well as engaging children and young people who have disabilities within the arts where they can explore their creativity as individuals.

Katie loves been part of the Sunshine and Smiles team and can’t wait to see what the future holds for the charity.

Kerry Maule

Kerry Maule

Online Producer

Kerry has been a supporter of Sunshine and Smiles since 2016 when she first met the charity while filming one of their events and has now joined the team to offer online support. Kerry looks after our website and social media presence and is keen to show off the charity where she can. Some of the videos and photos you’ll see online will have been shot by Kerry, and she’ll keep you right up to date with our weekly newsletter. As well as offering internet skills, Kerry takes part in some of our sessions too, she particularly enjoys the Smilers group.

When Kerry is not working with us she’s hosting events, presenting on TV and making videos on YouTube. She also likes to stay active by getting outdoors and participates in charity events for Sunshine and Smiles; the Yorkshire 3 Peaks is one of her favourites!

Celine Prior

Celine Prior

Sessional Support Worker

Celine previously worked at Leeds Mencap, among other roles, and carries plenty of experience with young children who have Down Syndrome, as well as other people with additional needs. She also has an 18-year-old daughter, Roisin, who has Down Syndrome, and so brings a great deal of personal experience and insight also.

Celine works with our 0-3’s Group and our Early Years sessions, as well as being a superstar in our Shop and Café, 21 co.

Lauren Bernardina Drake

Lauren Bernardina Drake

Speech & Language Therapist

After graduating with a BSC Hons in Clinical Speech and Language Sciences, Lauren now works privately and within the NHS as a pediatric specialist Speech and Language Therapist.

Lauren runs some of our Speech & Language Groups and says she is passionate about equipping individuals with skills to promote, encourage and aid their communication abilities. Lauren works extensively with children who have Down syndrome, traumatic brain injury, neurological impairment, SEN, dyslexia, dyspraxia, and ASD.

As well as working for Sunshine and Smiles, she also runs groups for another charity and is currently undertaking research into how drama can facilitate and develop communicative abilities in individuals with Down syndrome.

Cherie Marriott

Cherie Marriott

Sessional Support Worker

Cherie’s background is Learning Disability Nursing with children and adults and currently works part time as a Health Visitor. She is married to Rich and have one son Luke who has Down Syndrome. Cherie says she has met so many wonderful families since Luke accessed the Sunshine & Smiles sessions and is looking forward to becoming more involved. She started work for Sunshine and Smiles as a family support worker and facilitating sessions about Positive Behaviour Support for parents/Carers, as this is an area she is passionate about.

In her spare time Cherie enjoys walking, gardening, reading and music and would love to learn to play a musical instrument one day.

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